Snake Identification please.

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    I would like to get a snake identification narrowed down for my contribution to Porcupine’s ‘Wild Corner’ (along with other sightings – see my next post)

    Very dark olive almost black, around 2m and very thick. The thickest snake I’ve seen in the wild.
    The only identifying mark is what looked like a white monocle or spectacle on the back of the head. Didn’t see it displayed (and I don’t believe in provocation) or I probably wouldn’t be asking.
    It was beside a path in a mangrove swamp and slid into a tree root.

    So I’m thinking Cobra, tree-root by water suggests King Cobra, but I thought they were longer and slimmer. Monocled and Spectacled Cobras I would have thought were rare if not non-existant in HK, and again I thought they were much smaller.
    So Rat Snake, Mangrove Snake or Chinese Cobra?

    (And of course googling it doesn’t help. All Cobra pictures show them reared from the front.)


    Late to this – been hectic lately.

    Not good on snakes, but the white mark on back of head maybe suggests a cobra, inc Chinese cobra. Likewise size: can be pretty big.
    Olive not quite right, tho; should be blackish or brownish. Light in mangrovs perhaps a factor. Mangrove snake should be smaller – judging by quick check of guide to HK Amphibians and Reptiles.


    Thanks, I’m pretty sure it was a Cobra. But I didn’t think the white markings were normal in the Chinese Cobra or King Cobra.
    It was probably far too fat for a Mangrove Snake, but I thought this species grew quite big.
    You’re right about the colour. I have great difficulty with snake colour. I get an impression quickly and then remember it that way. And my mind just doesn’t think in terms of chocolate or expresso, but shades of olive. I remember calling a snake olive once only later to have it return to the house (it had been evicted once) and discover that it was a sandy-brown with red and blue flecks.


    Amphib and reptiles guide mentions whitish monocellate or bicellate (spectacled) marking across entire dorsal surface of hood of Chinese cobra, which seems to fit.
    for king cobra, says dorsal surface of hood banded.


    On the subject of Cobras, I also saw one coming out of the tidal creek just before you get to Ham Tin, Tai Long Wan last week. From afar the underside was lighter/olive, did not see top, but then it stood up and flared its hood. I was still some distance away..maybe the snake objected to my body odour?
    All very exciting.

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